|The Door of Opportunity in Cordoba, Argentina|
We have been in Argentina since 2002 when we arrived with our two youngest daughters Laurie and Kelly. The three older girls graduated from High School, were invited to stay in a home by a godly family from our sending church, while they pursued their own paths. Later, Heidi spent thirteen months with us and Edie spent eight months with us in Argentina. They each were curious about mom and dad's new way of living and it was a blessing to have each one with us. The oldest daughter, Rachel, was trying to finish Bible College and then she had a teaching job and was not able to live with us. But she was able to come to Argentina with Edie to spend Christmas with us. So we were all able to be together. That is always a wonderful, joyful occasion that we all appreciate. Four of the girls are married now and so each wedding has provided a time of reunion for us since they are all scattered across the United States. We will have a special wedding celebration in October for Kelly and Jett. Laurie is married to Robin and they have a son Conner and a daughter Caylee. Heidi is married to Jonathan and they have Easton, Ryder, and Makenzie. Rachel is married to Michael and Rachel has a beautiful stepdaughter, Emmalyn and her and Michael now have a son, Micaiah. Edie has a great boyfriend named Rey and she works in the office of a Christian Day School. So this October, we will all be reunited again and we are all looking forward to this time.
We have really enjoyed our work in Argentina. We have learned so many things about life, people, and ourselves. We are now living in our sixth rented house and once again we are so thankful that God provided us with such a functional home. We hope to stay in this house for at least two to four years if it could work out. We lived in Metropolitan Buenos Aires for nine years and then moved to Cordoba and we have been here since then. We have really enjoyed our ministry here in Argentina, learning their customs and cultures, and teaching them the Bible. . We first moved to Rayo Cortado, a town of around 2000 people to help a small group of believers become a reproducing church. We then moved to a larger town south of us which has around eleven thousand people. It is a nice size town and we enjoy being able to get to know people.
As we began getting to know the people in this town, we have been able to encourage the people in their growth in the Word of God and see their lives change, and through these people we have met more people. We had lived on the outskirts of town. Now we were able to move into the center of town.
Argentines have their own times for breakfast, lunch, a snack in the afternoon called merienda, and then a late supper. They have their own special holidays. They have their own genealogy from Europe and so all put together, it makes them unique. It amazed me how from birth we are programmed to holidays. I still cannot get my own USA holidays and rhythms of emotions out of my heart. Of course, I don't really want to, but sometimes I have to stop and think twice...once for Argentina and what holidays are coming up and also for the holidays in the states. Some of them are the same, but the problem is the seasons are opposite.
|Nacho and his father preparing us a savory Argentine meal|
|Delicious Argentine ham and cheese empanadas|
We desire to work with the Argentines in planting churches. And then we desire to see them plant churches. I will share later what my husband's goals are in this. It has always been his desire to help Argentines become reproducing in their own church plants. Just like we had children and our children have children so it is with church planting. When people understand what is a church and what is its purpose, they really have an enthusiasm to obey God. First we teach them the story from Genesis to the New Testament. We need to take an honest look at the Bible and see how God wants us to come to Him. It is only through Christ, the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises. God says that the punishment for sin is death. The Promised Redeemer from the Old Testament, who is God, gave His life as a sacrifice for us so that we could live eternally in the presence of God. This is the most important message. When the people believe this message and they see what God truly says in His Word, they will desire to be baptized because they have believed. They will want to obey God and begin to grow in their lives to be more holy and loving like God. We love helping people to mature, but it takes a lot of time and patience. They need to see God and Christ in the Bible and God will show them what needs to be changed in their lives.
|Some Argentine friends|
Through these people a new church is formed and as they grow they begin to care about people, their family, their friends, and other believers who are new to them. They begin to connect with believers in others towns and sometimes in other countries. Through this new work they begin to grow and then special ministries are developed. For example, we know there is a lot of emphasis on the people from the Middle East. With the event of the Falling of the Twin Towers in the states and with the war in Iraq, we now have many people desiring to be missionaries to the Middle East. Before when there was a threat from Russia and China in our past history, later there followed a desire to be missionaries to these people. United States is becoming limited in what it can do and where it can go. There are fewer people answering the call to missions percentagewise than previous generations. And so it does appear that God is working to prompt people from South America to also be missionaries. They can go where people from the United States cannot always go. One of the goals of Joe has always been to help Argentina establish a structure that will facilitate:
the planting of churches in Argentina
training of Argentine missionaries
funding for the above
Along with coaching or working with church planters, pastors, and leadership in existing churches, Joe desires the Argentines to see God do a great work through them. They too can depend on God to do great things for them as far as teaching the Bible, and working through their finances and resources. We came to the field later in life and so our spanish is not perfect. I think this has actually become an advantage for us because when they hear us teaching the Bible out of a love for God and for them, they can think "surely, if they can do it, so can I." And so God also uses our weaknesses to glorify Him.
We believe in teamwork. It isn't always easy, but if there are basic understandings laid out and there is an agreement on these, then it will work for the glory of God. From the time my husband pastored in Montana, for the first time, he began to realize that he did not have all the giftings, as he was taught he should, as a pastor. The Bible teaches that the whole body of Christ has been divided into different giftings to complete the work...together. If we accept these different giftings, realizing that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and that none of us "has it all" then there will be teamwork. If we can praise each other for the giftings when we notice a good job done or a conversation that impacted us, etc. then there will be teamwork. We are learning and we never want to stop learning while we live on this earth. And then in heaven, we will really begin to learn. I can't imagine...but God says in
I Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.
I hope that I have given an outline of the basic work that we do here as missionaries. We would appreciate your prayers and hope that you will be a follower. If there are any young couples interested in being trained on the mission field, we would also like to help in this. It is not an easy thing to go to a new country, alone, and we don't think missions should be done alone. We would do everything we could to encourage, instruct, help, and teach anyone who would want to join us if we would be agreed first on some basic guidelines.
Please send us your name if you are interested in learning more about missions.